NEXT Pittsburgh: California Markets

I was delighted to talk to Traci Cierto earlier in August about the the California Markets and it’s future in the California Ave. Business District in Brighton Heights. 

You can read more about ourBiz Buzz project and others here ===>>

The Case for Water Taxis

After our sit down with the Port Authority back in October 2013, PGHretail began investigating water taxi’s more heavily.  We made a call in to Wandella Boats, Chicago’s premier commuter water taxi service.  The Director of Operations was very excited to talk to us and share information about the water taxi business.

Their business has been picking up to expand their boat fleet. Largest users were suburban residents coming to downtown through park-n-rides. They run their commuter business from March until November with competitive rates against bus fares.  Just by glancing at our river system, it was expressed that Pittsburgh has the ability to be successful in the water taxi business with optimal travel time to destinations within the three rivers.


How exciting! So, PGHretail began researching past water taxi initiatives and the current status.  It was mentioned by the County’s Economic Director, Bob Hurley, that in the past there was a water taxi service that didn’t quite catch on.  Read more about the previous project in the BizJournal article from Sept 2003BizJournal article from May 2005, Post Gazette article from June 2008, and Post Gazette article from May 2009

We found that despite the lack of success then, Federal Funding had been given yet again to the Port of Pittsburgh in 2011 to develop a water taxi dock system and earmarked funding for commuter taxi boats.  Read more in the Post Gazette article from August 2011 and  Trib-Live article from October 2012.

PGHretail contacted Mark Schiller, owner of Pittsburgh Water Limo, who is the only ferry boat company who has publicly announced interest in pursuing the water taxi service.  He was adamant that water taxi service would thrive in Pittsburgh under a free-enterprise business. Ongoing discussions with the Port of Pittsburgh, URA, and other key players have been going on over the past three years.

Mr. Schiller directed PGHretail to contact another interested individual to partner in the investigation and lobbying of the water taxi project to the Allegheny County and City of Pittsburgh. This highly active and insightful guy is Dave Mansueto.  We can’t even begin to tell you all the awesome start-up projects Mr. Mansueto is in. His current project is a mobile Podcast app called  You can follow him on Twitter @tacomancini.




Raising Awareness in Local Offices

Back in October 2013, PGHretail sat down with County Executive, Rich Fitzgerald, and proposed a wide array of alternative transportation ideas.  We’ve been able to sit down with key players from the county, city, and Port Authority of Pittsburgh.

In addition to public transportation projects, which directly impact our local retail economy, we addressed the lack of information and support for the Creative Class and Creative Economy.  Entrepreneurs, innovators, grassroots organizations, artisans, and skilled craftsman have a huge impact on development in micro-economies within communities. The City of Philadelphia is a great example of how local government can gather information for that demographic, businesses that serve those folks, and non-profit organizations looking to cater funding initiatives.  Check out their site: and particularly, the CultureBlock site that maps resources:

Now, Pittsburgh organizations are trying.  Our professional critique is that passively crowd-sourcing, with little marketing efforts, to gather data is a very slow process to obtain information from very busy, focused individuals working hard to build their businesses and projects.  We hope that the URA is able to provide funding for a position that actively obtains and updates their latest project:

If you or someone you know, needs the resources from LAUNCHpgh, suggest their involvement to help establish the important information our growing economic developments need.

New Allegheny Market House in the North Side Opens 11/21/13


Visit the New Allegheny Market House in the North Side this holiday for your gift shopping!  Located in a the Historic Deutschtown at 503 E. Ohio St.  and open Thursday 11A – 6P, Friday 11A – 7P, and Saturday 11A – 6P.   A unique shopping experience featuring local North Side artists, artisans, and makers.  Come out and support your local economy while exploring an up and coming shopping district!

The California Markets begin June 8th!


It is on! We are thankful for the Urban Redevelopment Authority and Brighton Heights Citizen’s Federation with their support and time to make these happen.

Now let’s spread the word! The above image is web friendly for downloading and socially sharing with all your friends and family.  Second Saturday’s this summer will be your new favorite thing with lots to discover in Brighton Heights.  Local farmers, food, drinks, crafts, art, and community activities for everyone. Including, raffles for local business prizes, sidewalk art, sidewalk chalk, community garden info, and more!

June 8th will be sponsored by the Brighton Heights Citizen’s Federation to wind down their first Local Art Exhibit in their California Ave. offices and new project to bring Creative Crosswalks to the Heights!

Also, their Annual Chocolate House Tour is the next day! Sunday, June 9th from 1 – 5pm to walk the historic houses of Brighton Heights, eat some fine sweets, and experience our creative community right in their own homes! You can buy tickets on their website or at our event for $10, while it’s $15 on the day of. Don’t miss out!

Interested in helping the markets happen? email pghretail [@] gmail [dot] com to find out how to volunteer.

Want to be a vendor? Read more about how on the Become A Vendor page.

Information and applications to be apart of the bbq cook-off, home brew-off, drumming tournament, beauty pageant, and fashion show will also be available at the event, as well as, online.


There will be ample parking through out the neighborhood and signs posted to where you may find street parking. Termon Ave. and California Ave. past Davis Ave. will be your best bet to grab a spot.

You can use Google Maps to get directions using this address which is the beginning of the block where all events will be held: 3683 California Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15212

NORTH (from Wexford): Take 279 S to Exit 7 for Bellevue/West View. Turn left onto Union Ave/Union Ave Exd. Turn left onto N Starr Ave. Take the 2nd left onto Lincoln Ave. continue onto California Ave. Turn right to stay on California Ave.

SOUTH (from Bethel Park): Take 279 N to the PA RT 65 N exit on the left to US-19/Ohio River Blvd/North Shore. Take exit 1C for U.S. 19/Pennsylvania 65 N toward Ohio River Boulevard, merge, and continue on Ohio River Blvd/RT 65. Slight right onto Brighton Heights Blvd and then turn right on California Ave.

EAST (from Edgewood/Swissvale): Take 376 W to the PA RT 65 N exit on the left to US-19/Ohio River Blvd/North Shore. Take exit 1C for U.S. 19/Pennsylvania 65 N toward Ohio River Boulevard, merge, and continue on Ohio River Blvd/RT 65. Slight right onto Brighton Heights Blvd and then turn right on California Ave.

WEST (from Coraopolis/Sewickly): From the Sewickly Bridge Turn right onto PA-65 S/Ohio River Blvd, turn left on to Brighton Heights Blvd., and then turn right on to California Ave.

California Markets on California Ave!

March was quite a lion with many deadlines, meetings, and conversations to get PGHretail’s first series of events in gear.  Now that things are moving along and we’re past the initial goal posts, here’s more about what’s going on.
The California Ave. business corridor of Brighton Heights will be holding monthly events called The California Markets in Summer 2013!  We’re so excited to showcase all the really amazing activity the Brighton Heights Citizen Federation has been doing behind the scenes, as well as, inviting local farmers, vendors, and businesses to share in a day of fun, contests, and being our neighbor! You will be able to find more event details, applications, and contact info under the California Markets page on the left.  Also, follow PGHretail on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date!